Duke Professor Quits Committee Assignments Over Lacrosse Players Being Invited Back

A Duke University professor resigned from her committee assignments, saying she was upset by the administration's decision to invite two lacrosse players accused of sexual assault back to campus.

"The decision by the university to readmit the students, especially just before a critical judicial decision on the case, is a clear use of corporate power, and a breach, I think, of ethical citizenship," Karla Holloway, an English professor and former dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, wrote to Duke's black faculty caucus.

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"Despite our judgments about the prosecutor's own lack of principled conduct, it is not ours to become the judge or subvert the process," she wrote.

Earlier this month, officials at Duke said charged lacrosse players Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann could return to school as students in good standing. They were suspended last year after a woman hired to perform as a stripper at a lacrosse team party accused them of rape and sexual assault. A third player, Dave Evans, graduated the day before he was indicted.

According to court papers filed Thursday by the defense, the accuser told prosecutors in December that Seligmann did not commit any sex act on her during the alleged attack but was repeatedly urged to join in.

District Attorney Mike Nifong last month dropped rape charges against all three players after the accuser wavered in key details of her account. Nifong was later charged by the State Bar with ethics violations for public comments he made about the case early on; a hearing scheduled in that case is scheduled for May 11.

Larry Moneta, Duke vice president for student affairs, said Thursday neither Finnerty nor Seligmann will accept the invitation until the case is concluded. The next court hearing is set for Feb. 5.

Holloway was one of 88 faculty members at Duke who endorsed an ad last April in the campus newspaper that included anonymous quotes from students discussing racism and sexual assault on Duke's campus. She said she receives angry, racist e-mails attacking her for being among the school's critics.